Bunting ends seven-year wait for victory over van Gerwen

On Day Two of the Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open in Kiel on Saturday, Stephen Bunting defeated Michael van Gerwen after a seven-year wait.

Bunting defeated Van Gerwen 6-4 in their second round match at the Wunderino Arena to earn a spot in the Finals Day on Sunday.

Van Gerwen missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the seventh leg of a thrilling contest, but he pinned double six with his next dart to take a 4-3 lead.

Bunting’s hat-trick of legs earned him a rare victory over the world number three, who was defeated in his first match on the 2023 European Tour.

Bunting ends seven-year wait for victory over van Gerwen 
Bunting ends seven-year wait for victory over van Gerwen 

“If you want to win tournaments like this in front of great crowds you need to be beating people like Michael van Gerwen,” Bunting reflected.

“It was a great game. If he hit the nine-darter it probably would’ve changed the game.

“I’ve put a lot of effort in and I’m playing as well as anyone at the moment.

“The record [against Van Gerwen] was in the back of my mind, but I’m playing better than ever and this result shows that.”

On Day Two of the year’s first European Tour event, 16 second round ties were played over two sessions, with the winners advancing to Finals Day.

Steve Beaton’s fine form continued with a 6-5 defeat of Premier League star Nathan Aspinall.

Beaton trailed throughout the contest with Aspinall, despite a 106 average in his first round win over Adrian Lewis, but his perseverance was rewarded as he battled his way to a deciding leg victory.

On Day Two, world number six Rob Cross and UK Open champion Danny Noppert were eliminated by Martijn Dragt and Keegan Brown.

Dragt won the biggest match of his career, defeating fourth seed Cross in a dramatic last-leg decider, while Brown punished Noppert’s poor performance, winning four consecutive legs to claim a 6-3 victory.

In a star-studded battle, Peter Wright defeated James Wade 6-3, while World Champion Michael Smith overcame a hand injury to defeat German prospect Niko Springer 6-4.

Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton of the Welsh Premier League advanced to the last 16 with victories over Graham Usher and Ted Evetts.

Dimitri Van den Bergh came back from 3-2 down to defeat Ritchie Edhouse in his opener, overcoming the Enfield ace’s blistering start to win with a 97 average.

Martin Schindler defeated Lukas Wenig 6-4 in a match between two of Germany’s top players.

Damon Heta, the third seed, and Dave Chisnall both averaged over 100 in convincing victories over Bradley Brooks and Lewy Williams, respectively.

Luke Humphries, who won four European Tour titles in 2022, got off to a fast start with a 6-1 thrashing of Daryl Gurney.

Joe Cullen, Dirk van Duijvenbode, and Ryan Searle also advanced to the Kiel Finals Day.

2023 Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open

Saturday February 25

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

Ryan Searle 6-1 Mario Vandenbogaerde

Martijn Dragt 6-5 Rob Cross

Dave Chisnall 6-2 Lewy Williams

Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse

Joe Cullen 6-4 Arron Monk

Damon Heta 6-2 Bradley Brooks

Keegan Brown 6-3 Danny Noppert

Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Richard Veenstra

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)

Steve Beaton 6-5 Nathan Aspinall

Jonny Clayton 6-1 Ted Evetts

Gerwyn Price 6-2 Graham Usher

Luke Humphries 6-1 Daryl Gurney

Michael Smith 6-4 Niko Springer

Peter Wright 6-3 James Wade

Stephen Bunting 6-4 Michael van Gerwen

Martin Schindler 6-4 Lukas Wenig